how do we inhabit the histories we inherit? – Donna Harraway
Inhabiting Inheritance is an indexical archive. It is intended to be used as a tool that promotes forms of horizontal learning (as opposed to top down, heirarchical learning) in order to better combat western, capitalist settler methodologies of holding knowledge. The hope in this project is that this site can be used a toolbox that instigates the creation of more tools; it is an attempt to bring together voices of dissent, not in order to homogenize them, but as a form of bearing witness to their existence and as a way of hosting the multiple forms resistance may take; it is an attempt to usurp the traditional, and often singular voice that subtly (to some) narrates colonial history; it is a response to colonial contact and settler colonialism as an ongoing, lived reality of canadian life.
The desire to share my research practices with virtual and incarnate communities are personal (though idealistic) efforts to lower barriers to accessing certain forms of information and discourse and to work against the institutionalization of knowledge. In doing so, I hope to think with and learn with people while I research and to better develop my language and understanding of the Canadian colonial context. By creating a web based indexical archive, or database, or living archive, I am facilitating a space that people can contribute to, because as I see it, within the convergences between art and points of conflict, are salient, critical avenues for learning and inspiration: Indigenous and settler colonial histories, historical and personal genealogies, contemporary international politics, and interlocking issues of race, gender, class, ability and sexuality.
My web-based project seeks to share the contributions of art and cultural producers that illuminate invisibilized histories, and to fortify, explore and multiply our practices of resistance. This indexical archive or database/learning center is a way of engaging the public and furthering our dialogues and actions regarding our subjectivities and responsibilities in ways that are creative conciliations (thanks to David Garneau for “creative conciliation” pg.? The Land We Are). I would also like to make a point of acknowledging within this project the myriad ways that First Nations, Inuit and Metis cultural production exists (and has existed) beyond being counterpoints to colonialism (I thank Raymond Boisjoly for bringing this contribution to the forefront of my mind). However, I view this project as one aspect of my responsibilities as a person with settler heritage as well as Indigenous heritage. It is part of my contribution to the insurmountable work necessary to unlearn colonialist supremacy, and as a practice of decolonization.
This research project is made possible through support from my mentors France Trepanier, and Doug Jarvis, Open Space Arts Society and with funding from the BC Arts Council.